ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Hon. R.D. James visited the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Albuquerque District headquarters and multiple civil works project sites here, Jan. 22.James met with project sponsors and key stakeholders to discuss civil works projects in the Middle Rio Grande region including the Bernalillo to Belen Flood Protection, Sandia to Isleta Ecosystem Restoration, and Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge projects."Civil Works projects are important because most of the people in the United States live in a flood plain -- that's where we all settled when we first came to this country," James said. "As we advanced westward, we lived in flood plains; we still live in floodplains. Civil Works projects are, and will always be, vital to the stability of our nation."James also visited the Pueblo of Isleta to talk about the Middle Rio Grande Flood Protection, Bernalillo to Belen levee project with Isleta Pueblo Gov. Max Zuni."The Bernalillo to Belen levee should better protect Pueblo lands from flooding when completed," said Ryan Gronewold, planning branch chief, USACE-Albuquerque District."Completion of this important flood risk management study will mark a major milestone for Albuquerque District and the project sponsor, MRGCD [Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District]," Gronewold said. "Once authorized we can begin constructing levees that will reduce flood risk for communities along the Rio Grande from the Mountain View area of Albuquerque through Isleta Pueblo and further south to Belen."James also led a town hall discussion with USACE-Albuquerque District personnel during his time at the district's headquarters office, where he emphasized his priorities for civil works across the nation."I would like to see civil works move forward and get out of the roundabout processes that we go through during the design and planning of a project," James said. "I'm working very hard to change that. We are here to turn dirt and build projects."